How to Take Control of Your Inbox

I have a confession. Although I have a fantastic habit of keeping my work email neat and tidy, my personal Gmail lives in a different world. Really… it’s embarrassing.

Currently my phone glares at me: 249 Unread Emails. And that’s actually REALLY good for me. In 2019, it was up in the thousands at one point. 😬

Why all the unread emails? Because I’m TERRIBLE about subscribing to email lists for those 15% off coupons (PS – I usually decide I don’t really need to buy anything after all… anyone else guilty?). 🆘 I have a problem; I’m aware.

Okay okay, stop judging. So my personal Gmail splits emails into three tabs:

1️⃣ Primary

2️⃣ Social

3️⃣ Promotions.

Not everyone uses this “tabbed” inbox setting, but some surveys have approximated that between 34-60% of gmail users have certain tabs enabled.

And just because you’re interested, here’s my current “unread” breakdown:

Primary – 110

Social – 1

Promotions – 138

Overwhelming, right? Yes, but here’s the thing. That promotions tab will be at 0 in like .5 seconds when I hit “select all 138 conversations in promotions” and “DELETE ALL.” I do that a lot. It’s probably KILLING somebody’s email open rate. But going through and unsubscribing takes too long, so the cycle continues.

But then there’s that primary tab with 110 unread messages. That’s a little trickier, because those are a big mix of important, personal, AND some sneaky promotional emails. Can’t hit “Delete All” without the risk of tossing out my latest bank statement.

So here’s what happens ➡️ I go through, page by page, and sort out which ones I can delete. In the process, some of those promotional emails get an open. Remember: the internet is smart. Gmail knows which emails I’m most likely to value (and open and click), thus they get “first dibs” in the primary inbox.

Which leads us to the BIG question: How can you get your emails into that prized primary gmail inbox?? Here’s our top 3 tips:

📧 When someone opts into your email list, be crystal clear about expectations. Let them know how often they’ll hear from you and what they should expect. This builds trust between you and the potential customer. Consider asking new subscribers to “Add New Contact” with your “from” address.

📧 Occasionally clean out your audience to keep your open rate up. Using an email service such as Mailchimp allows you to view your contacts’ interaction with your emails. If an individual hasn’t opened your emails in over a year, it might be time to archive that contact.

📧 Don’t view your email strategy as a one-way sales pitch. View it as a conversation. And personalize whenever possible. With that mindset, you’ll be more likely to provide quality content that engages your audience so they WANT to read your emails, even if they’re not ready to buy something. When they are ready, you’ll be first in mind. 😉